Last spring I found myself holed up in my apartment bedroom with an addiction to food and an attempt to be interactive and social with online chat and TV. At the time, I didn't realize what was going on . I had a great job at Deseret Book with some of my bestest friends. I had access to great resources and knowledge, as well as sinfully delicious Lion House creations. I felt.....good, rather what I perceived as "good". I was working full-time and was attempting school full time. When I didn't have school and was off work, I thrived for my alone time in my bedroom, in front of the TV with a large combo from Wendy's, including a Frosty and various candy bars, or large container of Panda Express with an extra large Dr. Pepper, or my most favorite....Chick-fil-a...(oh man!). I was happy, surrounded by my BFF's: technology and food. They were constant. Supportive. Never failing. I seriously thought I was fine, that I wasn't "that bad". But as you can tell from this picture to the right, I am HUGE!!! I was so far from being even remotely close to okay. My dear family and friends were so kind and endlessly loving. They have always loved me for me, and I appreciate that. Truly, more than anything else. However, I did have a couple friends that kindly references things they were doing to be healthy. My dear roommate bought a yoga DVD and shared with me her workout regime, somewhat suggesting in a very caring manner that I should do the same. I knew of this, but blew it off and held my ground and strengthened my "power" struggle to continue my path of life being "okay" by secretly eating candy bars from my dresser drawer. What was I thinking? Who had I become?!?
Here is my new drivers license. (I hope you can't steal my identify from this snapshot!) It was taken on my birthday of this year. At this point in my life, I was feeling pretty good about myself and what I was doing. I had just started a new semester, had received a Pell grant that completely paid for the semester and my books. I was still working at the best place on earth, Deseret Book with great and amazing individuals. However, as I type this I recall a few things. In June of the previous year, a relationship of mind had ended. It was defiantly the best thing that could have happened for me, but it was also the most difficult. That was also a huge contributor to me becoming so huge. I let it effect me in that manner. My coping skills were solely food. With the new year I was determined to only look forward, and to choose to be happy. A lot of the last year is surprisingly quite hazy. I can remember specifics feelings, and the occasional experience, but really, I don't remember much of what I thought or exactly what was happening. The extra weight was clouding my mind, my ability to think and reason. This is also why i wasn't able to make a serious change. I was eating fast food two to three times a day. Yes, a day. I would become upset for Sundays to come because I couldn't go out and pick me up some greasy goodness. The only food I had in the apartment was cereal, candy bars, cookie mix, ice cream and frozen burritos. None of that matched up with the deliciousness of McDonald's or even of Subway. (I would eat there every so often and felt pretty good about myself! I was eating healthy, ha!) ;) One evening after I got off work, I went over to the food court to get me some delicious Chick-fil-a. Tena was texting me off and on as usual. She asked me what I was up to. I sent her a pic of my array of food with the newest book I was reading. We began a discussion on where I was in my life mentally and emotionally. This lead to a list of questions. I will forever remember this moment for the remainder of my life. It was a turning point. I had alluded to things in our discussions in the past, but I had never said anything out right about my addiction to food. No one really knew the extent of my habit. It was obvious just by looking at me that I had issues. But the fine detail of eating out sometimes three times a day was unaware by all except my bank account. The questions she asked me were the most probing questions anyone had ever asked me. She hit a nerve. She brought up topics and points that I had never heard anyone else talk about, nor had I shared with anyone before. There I sat in the middle of the food court crying over my meal of death. I share these with you now because of the impact they had on me. I hope it can help someone else.
- Are you going to be able to get on the floor with your kids?
- Are you going to teach them to be healthy and eat right?
- Are you going to develop a disease for being overweight?
- Why do you over eat?
- Why do you eat alone in your car?
- Do you feel bad after a secret eat?
- At times is all you can think of is what you are going to eat later?
- Do you watch the clock?
- Does the thought of food make your mouth water?
- Do you eat fast when you are alone, or eat a lot and then still feel hungry?
- Do you eat when you see someone that is skinny and who appears happy?
- Thinking that is what you would like to have?
- Have you ever been late or not gone to something because you were eating?
- Have you lied or told a half truth because you were eating or headed to eat?
- Why do you think you struggle with what direction to go in your life?
- Why do you think you beat yourself up for being over weight and not married, or done with school?
- When those things get you down, what do you do?
Aren't those some intense questions?? I was so overtaken. She also said: "Eating in secret is a sign. Many many people do it. They will be looking at the clock counting down, just waiting to have those moments with the food. You have to get to the root of it to change it FOREVER, and be able to continue to live. It's not always one specific event that can trigger the over eating, leading to obesity. It can be a combination of a multitude of things. Understanding is a BIG part of the battle. You need to continue to deal with those feelings and past experiences you have had; it is not easy but they will help you move forward." It will be almost 6 months before I put this into action, but it sure began something inside of me.
At the beginning of May I found myself wanting to be home. I missed my family. I made a split second decision to go home for the summer. Within two weeks my apartment was packed up, boxes moved to a new apartment I would return to in August, and Granny Pearl was packed up with clothes and what not that I would need for my summer stay. My motivation in moving home, was hopes to be a support and help for my family and a dear friend. I was tired of being so far away, that I felt I couldn't be of help. I came home expecting to change people. I hoped to be such a good example and source of strength for them, that I would make a difference in their lives for the better, for more happiness. I quickly found out that was impossible. I can be those things for them, but I can't expect them to change into what I perceived they should be. With this new set of disappointments and discouragements I once again found myself holed up in my bedroom. I had no job to use up my time, and my family had their own routines. I had a miniature man, 5 year old LP, that kept me smiling. Some days laying in bed with me while we read books, or wallowed on the couch while we watched TV and movies. Financially, I struggled to upkeep my addiction as intensely as when I was living in Orem. I had to drop down to one time a day, sometimes I could get away with two times, but not very often. Luckily I had a very dear friend, who allowed me to live in her basement. She is the greatest cook. She began to introduce me to a new variety of tastiness. The food was delicious, but it had only one problem. Serving size. I remember having specific thought processes with myself wondering how in the world they were able to survive on such small amounts of food. I began hiding food in my closet. Food I would snatch from my parents house, or junk I bought. This way I could enjoy the yummy home cooked meals, and continue my habit in the safety of my closet.During my stay at Tena's, we revisited those questions and she brought forth more insight and wisdom. With her cooking she began teaching me how to pick out produce, how to pay attention to calories and fat content as well as sugars and carbs. I began to understand bit by bit. However, I was not ready to change or willing to give up my french fries. We began to hear chatter about the HCG diet- positive and negative. Tena being the nurse she is, did some intense research and reading. I talked with people who had been on the diet. We decided that based on the amount of weight I needed to lose, this diet would be beneficial for me. I realize the controversy behind the diet, and I don't want to say that it works for everyone. Because it might not. That's one thing I've learned. Everyone's body make-up is different, and depending on the diet, each will effect them differently. That's why there are many diet options and why some are successful at them and some aren't.
Anyway.....So I decided to start the diet. The journey I have begun hasn't been easy. It's probably the most difficult task ever. I have been formed and reformed into various versions of myself. About 3 weeks into the diet I was struggling worse then before. My coping mechanism for life was food. I was now stripped of it. I struggled to find something to fill my time and take my mind off of food. That is still evolving even today. I feel into a very dark hole. I was still in a lonely state of mind, finding myself in my bedroom watching movies. I was to return to Orem by the middle of August. I had a wonderful job and new apartment to go back to. The situation I was in, was probably worse then when I left Orem. I was now going to return in more of a mess. Farther away from my support system of family and friends. I had bombed out the last two semesters at school, and was now on probation. I wasn't going to be able to return to UVU without some repercussions. (wow, I didn't think I would ever share that. But it is part of who I am today) Just a week before the semester was to start, I called and told my wonderful and understanding boss (and I'm not just saying that to kiss up, cause she does read my blog...but because she is one of my dearest friends who has helped shape me into who I am, and I really do appreciate her) that I wouldn't be returning. I went in and talked with Dixie State College, I enrolled and began the Fall semester.
Now, I do not want praise nor open recognition to this accomplishment. It is definitely not only me to look to for this success. I have oodles and oodles of people to thank for the person I am transforming into. I only ask that someone will take from my experience, and make a change within themselves. Truly, there is no better happiness then a life free of addiction, whatever that addiction may be, and a life centered around gratitude for a loving God who has blessed us with our lives.